In my last post, I discussed the importance of “numbers up” when teaching offensive concepts. This post continues that theme, but adds extra conditions that make the activity even more game-like.
Applicability: Playing numbers up on offense is a great teaching tool because it allows attacking players to experience lots of success. On the other hand, it is good for defenders, too, as they struggle to deal with a numbers down situation they are forced to figure out what works best, as well as the importance of pressure and angle of approach. Additionally, this is a shooting drill, but under game-like conditions. 2v1+1 increases the difficulty for the attacking team and encourages even faster speed of play to capitalize on the “numbers-up” situation.
Area: If you have a marked 18-yard box, use it; otherwise, put a cone 5 yards to the side of each post. After that, put a cone facing it approx. 18 yards away.
Activity: Divide the players into 2 even teams. Have the defenders line up behind the 2 cones level with the posts. Have the attackers line up in 2 lines on the edge of the box (far cones) facing them. The balls should be with the attackers. To begin, have one of the attackers dribble towards the goal and try to score. As soon as the attacker takes his/her first touch, one defender can come out to pressure her (but not before). If the attacker passes the ball to her partner, then the second defender can enter the play (from the other side) and they play 2v2. Players go to the other line once they have had their turn (e.g. attacker goes to the other attacker line and defender goes to other defender line). Give them a time limit (e.g. 75 seconds) to score as many goals as possible (keep count) and then have the two teams switch roles. Review guided discovery questions points, and repeat as necessary, then add progressions one by one.
Offensive Guided Discovery Questions:
- Is it easier for you and your partner to beat the defender when you go slow or fast? (See what they say and ask why)
- What is the best way to eliminate the defender from the drill? (See what they say and ask why – dribble straight at defender and then pass it before she she can recover/dribble past her or the second defender can impact the game)
- If you pass the ball to your partner, what is the best type of pass and why?
- When you receive the ball, where should you look to take your first touch? Why?
- What types of shot can you employ to be successful in this drill?
- How does shot selection pair with which foot you favor?
- If you lose the ball, what should you immediately do? Why?
Defensive Guided Discovery Questions:
- Do you want to pressure the attacker quickly or slowly? Why?
- Do you want to defend high up the field, or near your own goal? Why?
- Why is it smart to show the attacker away from her partner? Why?
- What is a good way to tackle the attacker without over-committing and getting beat? (Poke tackle)
- What can and should the goalkeeper be communicating during this activity? Why? Give some examples
- How does the game change when the attacker makes a pass? What are the challenges in this situation? What are the opportunities?
- Move the balls to the other side (move defenders over, too)
- Move the starting positions of the defenders/attackers (e.g. more centrally/more to the side, start the attackers closer/further away).
- Have the coach play the ball to the attacker.
- Add counterattack gates for the defenders to score through.
- Allow both defenders to enter the game on the attacker’s first touch (which makes it a traditional 2v2 activity)
Guided Discovery Questions after you have added Progressions:
- How has moving the balls to the other side changed this game? What are the challenges? What are the opportunities?
- How has changing the starting position of the defenders/attackers changed this game? What are the challenges? What are the opportunities?
- What has changed now that the coach is playing the ball in? What do you now have to ensure with your first touch? What are the challenges? What are the opportunities?
- Now that counterattack gates have been added, how has the game changed? (e.g. if the goalkeeper catches a ball, she can roll it out to her defender or thrown/kick it directly through a gate) What are the challenges? What are the opportunities?
- How has the game changed now that it is a 2v2 situation? What are the challenges? What are the opportunities?
Numbers Considerations: Again, this activity can easily accommodate 20 players; however, if you have access to another big goal, I would make two fields, as this will increase the number of repetitions/opportunities players have to participate.
Additional Notes: This activity can be used on its own and/or as a progression to 3v2, 3v3, or one of the “continuous” games. It is an important activity because it not only gives your players shooting practice, but it teaches the benefits of the overload in soccer.